Monday Night Football ratings up for the season, way up for Week 3

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Last night’s Cowboys-Cardinals game was easily the most-watched Monday night game of the season so far, and through four games Monday Night Football ratings are up over last season.

Cowboys-Cardinals got a 9.3 overnight rating for ESPN, easily the highest-rated Monday night game of the year. That came despite some talk that the controversy surrounding players kneeling during the national anthem would depress NFL ratings.

The 9.3 overnight rating is way up from last year’s Week Three Monday night game, although last year’s game was played at the same time as a presidential debate, so the Week Three 2017 vs. Week Three 2016 comparison is flawed.

A better measurement is that the four Monday Night Football games so far this season have averaged a 7.8 overnight rating, compared to a 6.5 overnight rating for the first four Monday Night Football games last season. And even if you throw out the game that went up against the debate last year, Monday Night Football is up year to date over the 2016 average.

For the weekend as a whole, ESPN and CBS were up, NBC and FOX were down, and on aggregate ratings across the NFL were up about 3 percent from Week Three last year. So there’s no reason to believe that the national anthem controversy hurt the NFL in the ratings department.

52 responses to “Monday Night Football ratings up for the season, way up for Week 3

  1. So ESPN viewership is up and Fox is down. I don’t think these fan protests are working correctly. When you say “I’m done watching the NFL because this protest stuff is disrespectful.” You actually have to turn the game OFF to follow through with YOUR protest. You may try reading a book instead. Hahaha that was a joke, I know you would never do that.

  2. Here, go with this headline the rest of the season.
    When the Cowboys are on the ratings are up!
    Has nothing to do with Fox/ESPN/CBS/NBC
    The Cowboys played on ESPN their ratings are up, Tony Romo was calling the Packers/Bengals game on CBS their ratings are up.Last week the Cowboys/Broncos game was the highest rated of the week on FOX, their ratings were up….I cannot be the only one seeing the trend

  3. Actually, getoffmylawn!, you have to be a Nielsens family to have any effect on ratings at all. It doesn’t matter if 20 million people stop watching football entirely, forever, if they aren’t a Nielsens family.

  4. Hey are you NFL boycotters you guys are really doing a great job in hurting the NFL! Please, please, come back we all miss you deplorables. We Also miss the beer bellies sticking out of the shirts on TV in the stadiums

  5. No players on either team knelt during the national anthem last night. When players don’t disrespect the colors people are more than willing the enjoy the game as they always have. If the Cowboy mass kneeling was done during the anthem I’m sure the numbers would have cratered. Let’s see what happens to the ratings if the kneeling continues, I suspect those teams that kneel will lose a lot of support, those that don’t will gain support. The Vikings, for example, also had no kneelers.

  6. I can’t imagine it has anything to do with this, could it?

    ESPN says it will begin reporting the viewership of its programs starting with Monday Night Football games based on Total Audience data that includes live TV, streaming and out-of-home viewing starting with the Dallas Cowboys-Arizona Cardinals game on Sept. 25.

    Football ratings have been down and it is important for networks including ESPN to make sure that as consumers watch games on multiple platforms and on different devices, the entire audience gets counted

    ESPN is working with Nielsen, which has been working to have its ratings keep up with the changing television environment by creating its Total Audience framework.

    I see now. You can make ratings go up compared to the way they were before, by changing methodolgy.

    Clever, and you can create a bogus headline about how ratings went “up”

  7. Not surprised by ratings being up for Cowboys but happy to see that other teams are getting love to. Folks shouldn’t allow themselves to be controlled, manipulated into turning off the games and losing the enjoyment that the game brings to so many Americans.

  8. I read that the ratings for week two were 8.7. A 9.3 rating is “way up”? People were tuning in because Jerry Jones was suppose to take a stand. I heard he didn’t and looked like his normal jack ass self. The NFL is done. Bringing politics into it? Disgracing themselves, insulting the fans, the vets? In London, no less…standing for their anthem (no discrimination there, former slave colonists!). They bit the hand that feeds them.

    They should have taken the protest elsewhere. Football has become, in one weekend, Americas pastime.

    As for racism. The word been so overused. Every time it is said, undeservingly, I just yawn and eye roll. And, if anyone thinks this is about racism and not about Trump, I have a bridge to sell you.

    I am a 30 year fan, former psl owner ($7000). I cut off NFL network, red zone, contacted sponsors. Done and done.

  9. MNF just feels much better than the last few seasons… HW Jr is back, the pregame is better and the panel is gelling well, enjoy seeing Randy and Charles among the tailgaters, You got Mossed is entertaining, the player spotlight pieces are more brief, but still enjoyable; commentating… still MEH. My only disappointment is that ‘Cmon man’ has gotten weak… but overall, MNF is much better.

  10. There are lots of people who are angry about the protest. There are very few who are angry enough to change their habits over it.

    That’s not criticism, I actually think not being so easily swayed by that anger is a rational response. There are lots of companies whose products and services I like but who say or do things I don’t like. I purchase their products and services anyway because they are superior quality or a better value to what I would get elsewhere.

    The left and the right are both too boycott happy. Boycotts should be reserved for extreme and egregious harm, not for things that just make us really angry. Otherwise they just become unsuccessful grandstanding.

  11. I did not watch. My guess is the ratings were way down. The nfl last week said an impressive 60k fans attended the chargers game. Ictures posted at halftime and just after kickoff showed the stadium half filled at best.
    Does anyone beleive the nfl would come out and say viewership and attendance is down. Of course not.

  12. Footballfanz says:

    Fake news, trump says their ratings are down so no other reports are true! LOL.
    ————————————————————–

    The ratings are down and that’s not even debatable. But obviously the Cowboys always draw high ratings.

  13. The games were fantastic. Over half the games on Sunday ended by 7 points or fewer. Great day for on the field action.

  14. Its the only ESPN programming I will watch.

    I enjoy their broadcast.

    Woodson, Hasselbeck and Moss are great, IMO. Beat the stuffing out of the NFL Net guys, in their complete and total awfulness.

    I think Sean McDonough is a better basketball voice, but I really like Gruden, despite his complete homerism.

  15. People were tuning in because Jerry Jones was suppose to take a stand. I heard he didn’t and looked like his normal jack ass self.
    =====

    Incorrect!

    Toward the end of the anthem, he started looking around to make sure the cameras were on him to maximize exposure.

  16. Not sure where PFT is getting its numbers, but here’s the MNF overnight ratings comparison through the first four games of 2016 vs. 2017.

    2016
    —-
    LAR/SF 6.2
    PIT/WAS 7.7
    PHI/CHI 7.3
    ATL/NO 4.9
    AVERAGE 6.5

    2017
    —-
    LAC/DEN 6.0
    NO/MIN 6.8
    DET/NYG 7.4
    DAL/ARI 9.3
    AVERAGE 7.4

    Not sure where the 7.8 came from. If we discount the Week 3 game because of the Presidential debate last year, the 2016 average is 7.1 vs the 2017 average of 6.7. Again, I’m not sure where PFT is getting their numbers, but by all accounts, it looks like the MNF ratings are indeed down this year.

    Further proof? Here are the SNF ratings.

    2016
    —-
    NE/ARI 13.1
    GB/MIN 12.7
    CHI/DAL 11.7
    AVERAGE 12.5

    2017
    —-
    NYG/DAL 13.4
    GB/ATL 11.3
    OAK/WAS 10.0
    AVERAGE 11.6

    I’m not quick to call “fake news,” but it sure looks like this article is a prime example, to me.

  17. Product was better, so the ratings went up. See how that works. It is 99% of the reason the ratings had been going down because the NFL product has been in decline. More weekends like this, and everyone will be watching again. Easily the best set of games I’ve seen in at least 4 years.

  18. I like how you mislead with this headline. Way up from what the week before but over 10% down overall? I suspect many tuned in initially to see if the coward Jones would follow through on bold previous statement that all would stand yet they preemtively kneel to overwhelming boos.

  19. FAKE NEWS! ESPN is now reporting ratings based on new parameters, meant to make their numbers look better (they factor in some made-up streaming views as well as people that will watch it later). That 7.8 number is bunk and advertisers are too smart for this. Streamers and those that watch on DVR later DO NOT WATCH ADS!!!

    So NBC might be fulled by ESPN but the people and the advertisers are not. Read this: http://www.broadcastingcable.com/news/currency/espn-shifts-total-audience-ratings-monday-night-football/168823

    ESPN is a lying, no good, fake news organization.

  20. Can we ever get the rating on the REDZONE ?? That’s why actually game Viewership is down, They did it to themselves. When most of the games, due to I think a lack of practice probably. The first 4 games of the season are crap REDZONE gives you what you want to see every score from every game. Come On Man its common sense.

  21. BSPN pays roughly $2 billion a year to broadcast MNF with ratings double digits lower than 10 years ago. This is one of the reasons they have had to fire hundreds of people with more to come. If I worked there I would keep a cooler in my office so my lunch doesn’t go bad when the power company shuts off the electricity.

  22. matman13 says:
    September 26, 2017 at 10:53 am
    Not sure where PFT is getting its numbers, but here’s the MNF overnight ratings comparison through the first four games of 2016 vs. 2017.
    2016
    —-
    LAR/SF 6.2
    PIT/WAS 7.7
    PHI/CHI 7.3
    ATL/NO 4.9
    AVERAGE 6.5
    2017
    —-
    LAC/DEN 6.0
    NO/MIN 6.8
    DET/NYG 7.4
    DAL/ARI 9.3
    AVERAGE 7.4
    Not sure where the 7.8 came from. If we discount the Week 3 game because of the Presidential debate last year, the 2016 average is 7.1 vs the 2017 average of 6.7. Again, I’m not sure where PFT is getting their numbers, but by all accounts, it looks like the MNF ratings are indeed down this year.
    Further proof? Here are the SNF ratings.
    2016
    —-
    NE/ARI 13.1
    GB/MIN 12.7
    CHI/DAL 11.7
    AVERAGE 12.5
    2017
    —-
    NYG/DAL 13.4
    GB/ATL 11.3
    OAK/WAS 10.0
    AVERAGE 11.6
    I’m not quick to call “fake news,” but it sure looks like this article is a prime example, to me.

    ————-

    I think a more important point is what are the ratings of the next most popular show on that night.

    On Sunday, Sept 17th the Emmy awards were a 7 and Fox nightly news was 7.8. The NFL is so far and away the most popular show on TV. Sure the ratings have dropped a bit or are at least fluctuating, but nothing else is even close to as popular. It’s not going anywhere.

  23. The NFL themselves blamed low ratings last year on the Presidential election. Week 3 of 2016 saw a record low for MNF, so comparing year to year is misleading. Since there is no election this year, ratings should be up by huge numbers. However they are not.

    Additionally when you compare this year’s Week 3 numbers to 2015 (the last non election year) the numbers are disastrous. Including last night’s MNF rating of 9.3 (roughly 15 million viewers) there were approximately 91 million total viewers this week. In week 3 of 2015, there were 108 million total viewers. So we’ve seen nearly a 16% drop when comparing non election year to non election year.

    Sure the ratings are up from last year, but last year was horrendous, and those election watchers were suppose to come back this year. It looks like the vast majority did not. Whether or not that’s because of the protests is for other people to decide. But to crow about the ratings being up, looks foolish.

  24. Only reason ratings were up last night is because the Dallas Cowboys were on. You can’t use that one team as a broad sample because ratings are down by a good amount in just about all other games. The Cowboys have historically always drew high ratings.

  25. Fans have to remember the ratings weren’t because it was the Cowboys. It was the fact that The Football Maven, Bruce Arians was on the field. A legend in his own mind he is a go to quote guy and reporter worshiper.

  26. yet Goodell keeps trying to screw over the Cowboys for some reason. Mara’s Giants don’t draw eyes like Dallas does, so stop being his puppet Roger!

    Dallas will always draw the eyes. We have too many fans and ten times as many haters that want to see us lose.

  27. The ratings were down last year at this time as well – the football is not that great the first four weeks of the season, it really isn’t. Plus the weather was insanely beautiful up my way on Sunday so I can’t justify sitting in front of the tube instead of being outdoors – I mean, I love the Packers but they play better in November and December anyhow – a time of year me and the weather don’t get along. But if you’re going to argue this, check the ratings then, it’ll be more meaningful –
    – Also this protest is not about disrespecting anything, it’s about feeling oppressed and unprotected by your own country that allows it’s police officers to get away with profiling, physical abuse, bullying, intimidation and murder.

  28. Bigger story!! Espn and Nielsen changed the metrics!!! Effective last night, ratings now including streaming! What bogus reporting! I guess when your creditabilty is already shot you have nothing to lose!!!

    Done and done.

  29. It is not “Fake News”, more like half the story…MNF did well last night as it always does when the Cowboys play. The early games did well because controversy garners attention and everyone wanted to see if their team knelt(glad to say my team did not).

    The Giants-Eagles game(Fox Single game for the afternoon) was down 16%! Ouch! And the Sunday Night game, which is supposed to have surpassed MNF as the biggest game of the week hit a 12 year low! It had the lowest amount of viewership for Sunday night games since 2006, quite possibly a result of everyone being burnt out from seeing wall-to-wall protest action all day….

    I actually commented on this post earlier this morning when there was only 5 or 6 other comments and quoted directly from Variety. I didn’t use any abusive language or links…nothing and this site still deleted my comment. It seems to do this almost every time I go against this site’s preferred narrative. Has anyone else had this problem?

  30. What I’m getting from all these ratings they’ve talked about incessantly the last few years is that the DALLAS COWBOYS should have ALL of their games NATIONALLY TELEVISED! That way football ratings will always be high! Love them, or hate them, but the DALLAS COWBOYS ARE AMERICA’S TEAM!!! They prove it every year in the ratings that Cowboy games get the best ratings. They need to quit wasting our time showing crap games nationally and just put out the games the viewers WANT to see, the Cowboys win or the Cowboys lose.

  31. BOTTOMLINE: Nobody but the poorly educated would follow Trump’s lead and they didn’t watch the NFL anyway. You will not be missed. Believe me. Good riddance.

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